When Hospitality Requires a Few “Extra” Steps

When I think of hospitality, a sweet woman from my church comes to mind. Shortly after Collin and I got married, the wife of one of our church elders invited us over for dinner in their home. I was excited to get to know this precious family, but I was nervous too. When you factor my life-threatening food allergies into the equation, any event that involvesfood carries a tinge of low-level anxiety.

We accepted their invitation, and a few days later I hesitantly texted her to let her know about my allergies, explaining that accidental exposure to nuts or even a person or item that had come into contact with nuts could send me to the emergency room in anaphylactic shock. I assured her that I could eat before we came over and let her know that I understood that an allergy so severe can be a lot to ask someone else to accommodate. 

She didn’t miss a beat. 

  • She asked me questions about what I could and couldn’t eat.
  • She texted me photos of ingredient lists so I could feel at ease that what she was making would be safe. 
  • She asked her kids not to eat any peanut butter sandwiches the day that we came over.
  • She let me know that she cleaned her kitchen and dining room table. 

These extra steps were something that only a few people have ever done for me, and they will always stick out in my mind. It wasn’t the way that her house looked or the meal itself that made me feel so loved and welcomed (though a warm pie with berries straight from her garden did feel extra special). It was the way that she cared for my needs that put me at ease and truly made me feel like I was welcome in her home.

As you contemplate extending hospitality, especially hospitality that may require a number of “extra” steps, here are a few reminders from Scripture to encourage you.

Hospitality Requires Humility

The act of hospitality is far more than just offering a delicious meal or a picture-perfect home. True biblical hospitality requires humility because extending genuine care and concern for the well-being of others takes precedence over your comfort, preferences, or convenience.

In Romans 12:10 Paul wrote, “Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another.” Similarly, in Philippians 2:3–4, believers are reminded to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.”

When we embrace the heart of humility we create spaces where those in our care feel loved, valued, and welcomed. It’s not just about making a good impression; it’s about cultivating a genuine spirit of humility that reflects the love and grace of Christ.

Serve with Joy 

In 1 Peter 4:9 we find the command to “be hospitable to one another without complaining” nestled among verses that talk about following Christ well and loving one another. When hospitality requires us to change our plans, go outside of our comfort zone, or take extra time, it can be easy to grumble. Scripture calls us to kill that attitude. 

When you are faced with a situation that requires a few more steps than you initially thought, take some time to thank the Lord for the opportunity to go the extra mile for someone. Ask Him to help you view this as a way to humbly serve them in love and to give you joy in the process. Your happy, thoughtful service will make your guests feel welcomed and remind them that they are not a burden, but rather a joy to serve.

Take Them to the Cross 

In the podcast episode “Why Hospitality Matters,” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth makes this critical correlation, “The ministry of hospitality actually communicates the gospel. Hospitality takes us back to the cross. It takes us to the heart of Christ as He gave Himself and His life for the salvation of the world.” 

Are you willing to give yourself up for others? Jesus has welcomed us with open arms, though we carried with us the heavy baggage of sin and shame. Will you welcome your guests with open arms even though they may come carrying inconveniences, burdens, and needs that you may not have initially planned for?

When you reach toward others in love, willing to care for whatever needs they may have, you are reflecting the profound hospitality of Christ Himself. In these mundane moments of biblical hospitality we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the essence of the gospel. As we serve others with open hearts and willing hands, we become vessels of God’s grace.

Go the Extra Mile

Whether you’re taking extra precautions for someone with food allergies or dietary restrictions, making sure a new mama feels comfortable in your home, or changing plans for a friend living with chronic illness, remember that it is often these “extra” steps that set Christian hospitality apart.

“Biblical hospitality goes the extra mile to serve others for one simple and spectacular reason: Jesus went the extra mile to serve us.”1

Ashley’s post includes a great reminder that our willingness to practice “costly” hospitality reflects the hospitality of Christ Himself. Looking to learn more about God’s heart for this important biblical discipline? Cultivate a welcome heart and home with You’re Welcome Here: Embracing the Heart of Hospitality, a brand-new six-week Bible study from Revive Our Hearts. It’s our gift to you when you give a gift of any amount to the ministry. 

You’re Welcome Here: Embracing the Heart of Hospitality (Niles, MI: Revive Our Hearts, 2024), 88.

About the Author

Ashley Gibson

Ashley Gibson

Ashley Gibson is a native of the mountains of Maryland, lover of flowers, and an ardent believer in writing letters. She always has a song in her heart—and usually one on her lips. Ashley loves encouraging others to know and … read more …

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